Monday, April 11, 2011

So, Sorry for all the jumpcuts and being super sleepy! I've been really busy lately, but hopefully this will show you a bit of what I have been up to!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Talking about the happy zebras.
Haha so this is an absolutely terrible video but you can hear us all laughing in the background chasing after the wolverines. :)
I'll see if I can find another video.


This month has been kind of a funny in-between month.

It's definitely the warmest February I remember having! I'm getting used to the warm(ish) weather in Holland, I think next winter at home will kill me. brrr!!!
The only thing I would change about the weather here is how much it rains
. I haven't seen the sun in what feels like a loooong time, it's kind of depressing.
I wouldn't trade it for snow though!

This month wasn't all that eventful - I did get to meet all the new inbounds though, so that was nice. They are from the southern hemisphere, so places like south africa, new zealand, australia, and argentina. It was cool to see them begin their year and remember where I was at the beginning of mine.

I went to the zoo with my host parents this month. That was fun!! It was really awesome to see all the animals, not to mention learning all the new words for animals in dutch. I learned about "nerts" and "aurochs" and loads of other crazy things.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hey everybody!

So, now that life has calmed down a little, I'm going to try to keep updating a little more often, see if we can avoid any more 2 month gaps! Sorry about that!

Last week I was sick with the flu, which was pretty lame. I hate being sick in a place where I don't know the names for whatever the equivalents of Advil or Tylenol are. :) oh well, I survived! It was actually kind of nice to just have a few days of sleeping lots and not doing much of anything. My hosts were so sweet, they even managed to find some gingerale waaaaaaaaay at the back of the top shelf in the grocery store to bring to me.

This week has been considerably more fun! Monday I went to school, but it was a good day because I had a dutch lesson, and then got to hang out with Cindy, the other exchange student, after school. We went on a little bike ride to see some more of the town, and wound up meeting her host sister and sister's friend who were out for a run together. Chaos ensued!. (My host mother gives the other exchange student and I private dutch lessons twice a week, how cool is that?!)
Tuesday was fantastic too, because my host's son lives in amsterdam with his girlfriend and they are going on vacation so we will watch their two dogs. Instead of making me go to school, my hosts took both me and cindy to amsterdam for the day! So cool! We went on a canal tour, and walked around a little, checked out some souvenir stores, and then went to the biggest chinese resteraunt I've ever seen for some yummy food! (The resteraunt was like 4 storeys high, crazy!!! It was also full of americans, which Cindy and I thought was pretty funny.)

Today was another day of school, but it was one of those random days where people who usually don't talk to me decided to talk to me, so I made some new friends! One of them was the person who sat in front of me in Dutch class - they'd turn around and smile about three times a lesson, but never actually say anything, and I could never think of something to say fast enough to start a conversation before they turned around again! Haha I'm happy we finally spoke. I feel like talking to people in Dutch is a lot like getting in a pool on a cold day - it's so hard to be gutsy enough to jump in, but once you do, you have so much fun that the initiall discomfort is totally worth it. I'm noticing more and more that people are just as nervous trying to figure out how to talk to me (and in what language!) for the first time as I am when I'm trying to figure out how to talk to them. I always have to laugh when that happens, because sometimes people look so scared to talk to me - I want to tell them I'm not very scary at all, and that even a 30 second conversation with someone new makes me really happy. I guess this is what being an exchange student is all about, learning how to just jump in and go with it! I'm kinda happy that I get to experience two schools on my exchange, because I'm learning so much about people in general, and myself especially.

Tomorrow is going to be another fun day because I'm going to Kerkraaden to get the papers that say I can officially be in the netherlands for the rest of the year! yay! I'm excited to have that all finished with, and I'm also excited because this means another day off of school! I'm really loving this week.

Friday will be pretty cool because, well, first off, it's friday, but also I have both Cindy's class and my class for first hour English! (we both have a group of 11-12 year olds that we have an english conversation group with on fridays) Cindy's mom is visiting , so Cindy's off exploring holland with her, and I get both groups. I think it'll be pretty fun to have all the kids - I have some cool games planned! Candy prizes always help too.
I was just told that the school has a band that meets fridays at lunch too, so maybe I will go check that out and see if I can join!

It was a little bit of a sad week too, because on Monday two exchange students were sent home. I'll miss them! That makes 3 people who have either chosen to go or have been sent home so far this year. :(

well, that's my week, I'll try to update again soon!
Tot zo,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

December , January


So, I'll start off from where I left in December. It was almost Sinterklaas! Wikipedia does a pretty good job of defining Sinterklaas, if you're curious about what it is. :)

On Sinterklaas, I went shopping in Maastricht with my host sister Inge and her boyfriend Jeroen. Then, that night, we walked to Inge's grandmother's house for a big Sinterklaas celebration. There were probably about 30 people crammed into a tiny apartment, but it was really nice. I got to meet all the cousins and aunts and uncles - for some reason a lot of them thought I was "Megan" from "Australia" so I straightened that out.. haha! Then that night all of the younger people went out together to Maastricht. So much fun!

A few days later I went to a sinterklaas party with all of my friends from Porta Mosana at a girl named Charlotte's house. It was super!!! We all made gifts with a little poem attached and a cool way of wrapping - for example, my present was hidden inside a paper mache "zwarte piet".

There were a couple of other December evenings at Charlotte's, always fun! One time, a bunch of people from our class got together and had a sleepover there and we watched "earth" and dutch children's cartoons all night.

The next few weeks were not too great, my host father had some heart complications and was in the hospital, so we were all very worried about him. He's doing well now though, so that is good!!

On December 18, I moved in with my "Christmas" host family. They lived in Schinnen, which is a tiny little village quite a way from Maastricht . They were pretty great - they have a little dog named Timido who I absolutely love, and my room was so beautiful. I felt like I was living in one of those Ikea show rooms. There was even a sauna! I spent a few days of the Christmas holidays with other exchange students, and had a couple adventures with my hosts too! We went to the Christmas market in Aachen, Germany, and I went with my host cousins to "Narnia" in the theater.

Christmas was pretty different here from at home! First off, there are 2 days of Christmas, the 25th and the 26th. Gifts are given on the night of the 24th, instead of the morning of the 25th. My family is pretty informal about Christmas, but I discovered that my host family wasn't! I came down for dinner in jeans and a comfy sweater on the 25th, to find everyone else in cocktail dresses and heels. Oops! haha The dinner was huge too - there were 8 courses, and a menu!

On new years, I went to Eindhoven with my friend Julia, who comes from Maine USA. It was really cool! people were setting off fireworks in the streets everywhere, and it was actually a little scary when the firecrackers would go off every 3 seconds- apparently it's legal to do fireworks here! Haha Jules and I saw a policeman helping some kids set up their fireworks, and then he was the one to set them off!

On the 3rd of January, I started at my new school in Hoensbrook. It was not so cool to be the new kid again, but I met a lot of new people, and I actually go to school with an exchange student from the USA now, so that's nice. On the 5th, I moved in with my current host family. They're really great! I live only about a 10 minute bike ride from school - and no hills!

I've been going a few times a week to help a lady with her horse - it just had a neck surgery and needs quite a bit of time and care before it'll be ok to ride again. I love being able to hang out with a horse again, I miss mine so much! And the lady who owns him is really sweet too, even though she only speaks German. It's interesting when we try to communicate, there's lots of hand signals and guessing. I was super excited to find out that I do, however, understand a surprising amount of German! sometimes it's similar to dutch. I love going to her house, she has two dogs, three rabbits, and a cat, so I get to snuggle all the critters and it makes me miss my own dogs and cats a little less. Her husband is a rotarian, and he's very nice too. Last weekend, we all went to an ice hockey game together, and because he is one of the top sponsors, we had great seats and were able to have coffee in the lounge afterwards. Super cool! There are 3 Canadians on the team, and I was introduced to one of their girlfriends - she came from Toronto. She was pretty impressed that I spoke a bit of dutch, because she's lived in Holland 3 years and doesn't know much at all - everyone here speaks English.

Next week, I'm going to go to Amsterdam with my host parents. yay! I'm looking forward to it!

tot zo,